Refined/Redefined

All-day experiences at the new Park Hyatt Lounge

Certain things have the power to simply whisk you away as if by magic. The smell of Sunday morning pancakes, the chill of crisp autumn nights by the fireplace, an old photo that you had completely forgotten about. Close your eyes and you’re instantly transported to a another time and place.

Fresh off a soft upgrade, the Park Lounge (Park Hyatt, Ground Floor) is one of those magical things. Already one of Saigon’s most refined spaces, the lounge recently received a facelift in both menu offerings and design. While the signature double-height windows sheathed with plantation shutters, the grand chandeliers, and the majestic cream-colored pillars edged in gold trim remain the same, the rest of the space now feels even more sumptuous.

Regular visitors will likely notice the bar is now gone, replaced with a simple backlit serving counter for coffees and spirits which serves to open up the space. In its stead is a fabulous crystal table, dozens of prisms reflecting the light, to go along with new crystal wall sconces that accentuate the seriously sexy curve of the feature windows.

To temper the opulence, the Park Lounge cleverly includes several design features that lend a easy coziness to the space. Underfoot, the new plush area rug features soothing tones of turquoise and aquamarine, and all the seating is also new, an elegantly eclectic collection of plush sofas, armchairs, and high chairs set in intimate groupings, and covered in exquisite damasks, chintzes, and velvets.

While all the fittings and furnishings are sourced from France, the Park Lounge retains its East Meets West aesthetic with the addition of antique lacquer furniture, dramatic Asian artwork in pops of red, and a spectacular larger-than-life gold and silver embroidered wall display by noted fashion designer Mai Lam. Taken together, all of these elements combine to transport guests to a different time and place, Old Saigon at the heady height of 1920s Indochina, the perfect place to while away the day.

We arrive just before noon, as businessmen are wrapping up informal meetings, their silver laptops reflected in the mirrored tables. Park Lounge’s revamped menu now has Well Being Selections to accompany old favorites. We opt for the Superfood Salad (VND240,000), a healthy yet tasty combination of organic red quinoa, avocado, frijoles, and feta that’s lightly filling, and the Yellowtail Kingfish (VND310,000), wonderfully marinated in a perilla vinaigrette with pomegranate seeds to provide bursts of brightness.

The Park Lounge has always been known for its decadent afternoon tea (VND990,000 for two) where beautiful people come to nibble on beautiful food, and it’s still as good as ever. Sweet and savory bites are veritable works of art, a true feast for the eyes. Each small bite reveals careful forethought in flavor combinations and presentation, garnished with tiny edible flowers and served on Hanoia lacquerware and graceful Ercuis silver stands. The Iberico pork belly reuben had layers of flavor while the Phu Quoc pepper crusted salmon on a crunchy sesame cracker was an inspired pairing. Scones with house-made jam and Tahitian vanilla cream arrived warm and soft, while the signature blueberry crepe cake had a wonderfully spongy texture created by alternating layers of delicate crepes and tartly sweet filling. For serious tea connoisseurs, the Park Lounge has unveiled the Tea Trolley serving gourmet Mariage Frères blends like the White Tea Himalaya (VND380,000) with notes of wild orchids and mandarin orange, and the Namring Queen Upper, a Darjeeling tea picked at altitude with hints of floral and citrus notes.

As day turns to night, the chandeliers dim and the lounge takes on a sultry softness, backed by an enchanting singer accompanied on the piano (daily starting at 7:15pm, except for Sundays). The jazzy arrangements set the scene for the Lounge’s sophisticated tea-infused evening cocktails which we pair with a set of canapés (12 for VND900,000). The Longan Tea (VND280,000) may be more of an acquired taste with hints of Darjeeling, dried longan and mellow Havana Club 7 Year Rum but it went well with the Quail cromesqui, a flavorful croquette of breaded fish salpicon. The winners of the evening were the Provence Negroni (VND260,000), a fragrant blend of homemade bergamot liquor and orange bitters backed by gin and vermouth, vibrant in both color and flavor, the perfect companion to the earthy Foie gras tucked under a gelatin beetroot dome.

As the final strains of music fade and the last cocktail sipped, we reluctantly return to modern-day Saigon, but what an escape it was.

Images by James Pham

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Eat More Vegetables

Exploring Vietnam’s best vegetarian ingredients For many, Vietnam is a paradise for vegetarians of all kinds. Restaurants roll out a vegetarian menu for the first and 15th of every month for those looking for a bit of soul purification. Home cooks revel in a huge assortment of fruits and vegetables, changing with the season. And

Read More »

A Good Rose Is Good

Rosé rules. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Rosé wines are some of the most undervalued wines in the world. There are no particular reasons for this other than perhaps ignorance and misunderstanding them. In Asia, rosé wines are considered bad because “they are made from the bad red and white wines

Read More »

Chinese Comfort Food

Longstanding establishment Café Central opens a new location in District 5 Among Saigon’s most prominent food & beverage groups, WMC has long been known for its range of restaurant styles and signature menus that are always designed to appeal to broad tastes in dining. This year, the group has launched its latest venue by returning

Read More »

Staying In Is The New Going Out

ONHA.VN brings you the Paragon of Restaurants into your home, backed by high-end technology and culinary talents. Speed POS is a payment transactions and inventory software & hardware provider, as well as training center, servicing F&B, Retail and Hotels. First and foremost, Speed POS has become a household name within the world of restaurants, fast

Read More »

Great Australian Wines delivered to your doorstep

We’re all stuck at home. Why not enjoy Australian Wines delivered right to your doorstep? Rada Vietnam (ilovewines.vn) offers a great selection of White, Red & Rose wines with huge discounts. Premium labels include Kilikanoon (Clare Valley), Mount Pleasant (Hunter Valley), Evans & Tate (Margaret River), Wines by Geoff Hardy (McLaren Vale), Paxton Wines (McLaren

Read More »

Healthy Chickens Means Happy Diners

Chickita is farm-to-table, Asian inspired, flame-grilled chicken Rising incomes and savvy, educated consumers have helped revolutionize the food industry around the world and Vietnam is a good case in point. Fast food, sugary and processed snacks are fun and yes, fast, but cultural awareness of nutrition is on the rise. Healthy eating trends are seeing

Read More »